Director of Institutional Philanthropy

International Refugee Assistance Project
New York, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Oct 10, 2023

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IRAP is a global legal aid and advocacy organization working to create a world where refugees and all people seeking safety are empowered to claim their right to freedom of movement and a path to lasting refuge. Driven by the experiences and needs of displaced people, IRAP’s work integrates legal aid, impact litigation, policy advocacy, strategic communications, and legal information to uphold and advance the rights of people seeking safety around the world. 

With offices in the United States, Jordan, Lebanon, and Germany, as well as an extensive network of more than 6,300 pro bono attorneys, student advocates, and partners, IRAP works to maximize the reach of its global legal assistance and advocacy. IRAP has a current staff of 125 people with a projected 2023/24 annual budget of $27M –a growth of 20% from the previous year. Forty percent of the budget is raised through institutional gifts.

This adaptive organization responds to rapidly evolving human displacement events by collaborating with clients and partners to identify gaps in support for displaced people that IRAP is positioned to fill through its direct legal services, legal knowledge sharing, and systemic advocacy.

Philanthropy at IRAP:

IRAP’s Board of Directors, Executive Leadership Team, and Development Team have built a strong network of engaged donors and supporters. Selection as a member of The Audacious Project’s 2021-2022 cohort (housed at TED) further elevated IRAP’s profile by unlocking a transformational six-year investment and opening new doors for fundraising opportunities. IRAP is engaged in outreach and cultivation efforts with multilateral, private foundations, individual, and corporate funders to grow its donor base. Its institutional portfolio includes major U.S. and European foundations, mid-sized foundations, faith-based communities, corporate giving programs, and UN agencies.

IRAP’s Impact:

IRAP leverages its volunteers and resources in an effort to ensure that, as a global society, we further the humanitarian tradition of welcoming those who need refuge. Since its founding in 2008, IRAP has provided free legal aid to more than 40,000 clients from over 100 countries. Its litigation victories have benefitted more than 493,000 displaced people and their families. Through policy advocacy, IRAP has protected and expanded pathways to safety in the United States for approximately 370,000 people. IRAP also works with law students to develop the next generation of human rights attorneys.

IRAP has embraced technology to reach people experiencing displacement wherever they are in the world. More than 200,000 people have accessed digital self-help legal resources in multiple languages via the organization’s legal information website. Nearly 30,000 people have used IRAP’s chatbot to access tailored information about their eligibility for pathways to safety and connect with staff when we can offer legal assistance.

Looking Ahead:

Over the next five years, IRAP will scale its coordinated legal aid and advocacy model to help an estimated 2.5 million displaced people worldwide access pathways to safe resettlement. Building on the organization’s commitment to client-centered legal assistance and responsive, accessible legal information, IRAP is working to fill gaps in services for displaced people through a robust digital legal resources platform and an expanded global network of partners in new geographies.

Learn more about The Audacious Project and our efforts to multiply our impact:

Director of Institutional Philanthropy:

IRAP is seeking an experienced, dynamic, and visionary Director of Institutional Philanthropy to provide strategic direction and leadership for IRAP’s institutional philanthropy program, including through the development and implementation of creative strategies to cultivate and steward relationships with donors and prospects while continuing the organization’s robust growth of this portfolio in support of IRAP’s mission, vision, and programmatic priorities. Reporting to IRAP’s Chief Development Officer, the Director of Institutional Philanthropy will be an integral part of the IRAP Development Department and a member of the Development Leadership Team.

Position Location: Washington, DC/New York, NY

Reports To: Chief Development Officer

Team Composition/Direct Report: Institutional Philanthropy Officer

Peers To This Role: Director of Individual Philanthropy and Development Strategist & Program Liaison.

Position Summary:

The primary purpose of this role is to continue the robust growth of the institutional portfolio in support of IRAP’s mission, vision, and programmatic priorities.

As an integral member of the IRAP Development Department and a member of the Development Leadership Team, the Director of Institutional Philanthropy will provide strategic direction and leadership for IRAP’s institutional philanthropy program through the development and implementation of creative strategies to cultivate and steward relationships with institutional donors and prospects. 

The Director of Institutional Philanthropy is a strategic and dynamic leader with demonstrated success in personally securing major institutional gifts, directing, and overseeing strategy, and building genuine relationships across IRAP and with existing and prospective donors. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader, thought partner, and supervisor; showcase a passion for fundraising and convey IRAP’s work with a growing community of supporters; have exceptional writing and interpersonal communication skills; and bring significant experience as a frontline fundraiser with demonstrated success in personally cultivating, soliciting, and securing major institutional gifts. This position includes supervisory responsibilities.

Role Responsibilities:
  • Develop, direct, and implement a strategy to cultivate, steward, and solicit new and existing institutional donors and meet annual institutional fundraising goals. 
  • Secure principal gifts (six-plus figures) and establish strong institutional revenue support through compelling, donor-centered relationship-building.
  • Develop and execute tailored annual engagement plans for each major institutional donor, including foundations, corporations, and multilateral funders such as the UN Refugee Agency.
  • Write timely and compelling letters of interest, grant proposals, and reports for major institutional donors, and oversee the strategy for and execution of submitted materials and requests written by the Institutional Philanthropy Officer.
  • As part of efforts to forge new funding relationships and steward existing relationships, provide strategic direction to and identify collaboration opportunities for program colleagues and the Executive Leadership Team to join virtual and in-person meetings with institutional donors and prospects. Such responsibilities include proactively proposing meetings, designing meeting goals, and determining appropriate staff involvement, as well as, with the support of the Institutional Philanthropy Officer, preparing colleagues (including providing background information, meeting goals, and talking points) and handling follow-up.
  • Work with the Development Strategist and Program Liaison, and the Grants Manager to develop and track program-specific budgets required for certain restricted funding sources.
  • Collaborate with the Grants Manager to prepare timely financial reports, as required or requested by donors.
  • Alongside and in addition to formal reports, maintain warm, professional, customized communication with donors in alignment with their preferences, such as personalized VIP updates, event invitations, update calls, in-person meetings, and email check-ins.
  • Regularly review program materials to stay up to date on program developments and be able to knowledgeably pitch or update funders on the organization’s work.
  • Work toward continued strategic growth of the portfolio, including in new geographies and emerging program areas, by networking, following up on prospect leads, developing cultivation strategies, and proactively stewarding existing donors with additional capacity. 
  • Communicate regularly with the Chief Development Officer, appropriate Executive Leadership Team members, and the Development Strategist and Program Liaison to understand potential programmatic funding needs and then identify and pursue institutional funding opportunities to meet those needs.
  • Collaborate with the Evaluation and Learning team to anticipate and generate timely metrics data, as required or requested by institutional donors. 
  • Collaborate with the individual philanthropy team on the stewardship of shared constituents, such as foundations with individual decision-makers. 
  • Work with the Development team to advance DEIA efforts in fundraising, including elevating client communities and supporting Development’s role in the achievement of organization-wide DEIA goals.
  • Work with the Chief Development Officer to mobilize and support the virtual and in-person fundraising activities of board members and the Development team.
  • Support the Development Strategist, Program Liaison, and Development Manager by contributing to IRAP communications efforts, including the Report to Supporters, materials for fundraising work, and ongoing development of messaging and branding.
  • Minimum of seven years of mission-driven experience; experience with nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and/or foundations preferred.
  • Seven-plus years of direct experience in the creation and management of an institutional philanthropy program, including writing and managing grants, cultivating donor relationships, organizing events, researching prospects, and implementing other forms of engagement and stewardship opportunities. 
  • Record of innovative and sustainable fundraising from foundations and corporations, with proven results. 
  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Supervisory experience required.
  • Experience working with Raiser’s Edge or other CRM database systems is a plus.
  • Ability to travel and occasionally work outside daytime business hours to meet with supporters, participate in cultivation opportunities, and represent IRAP at external events/meetings as and when required.
  • Experience working with multilateral or bilateral grants is a plus.
  • Experience writing about technical subjects for a lay audience is a plus.
Personal Characteristics Desired:
  • Superb writing, communications, interpersonal, and analytical skills. 
  • Self-motivated, passionate, and disciplined fundraiser, with a deep appreciation for relationship-building. 
  • Ability to work comfortably both in person and virtually with major donor prospects, attorneys, colleagues, and partner organizations with diverse cultural and social orientations.
  • Must be highly organized and motivated, be able to multitask and manage a high-volume workload, and have excellent time management skills.
  • Must have a broad and strategic mindset, with creative aptitude and effective use of independent judgment.
  • Ability to be flexible in a fast-paced and high-pressure work environment.
  • Ability to take the initiative and develop solutions quickly and effectively.
  • Team player with a commitment to professional development for staff and a mentoring mindset. 
  • Must be familiar with nonprofit financial management and program budgeting.
  • Demonstrated commitment to contributing to an inclusive working and learning environment.
  • Commitment to IRAP’s mission to create a world where refugees and all people seeking safety are empowered to claim their right to freedom of movement and identify a path to lasting refuge.
The salary for this role is listed as follows:
  • U.S. based offices: $125,000 – $145,000

IRAP staff come from very diverse backgrounds, but all have one thing in common; they believe in their mission and the service they provide to displaced refugees.

IRAP believes that diversity is critical to fostering a strong workplace and serving their clients well. They strongly encourage applications from people with lived experiences in the communities that they serve, members of other marginalized communities, and individuals whose identities are underrepresented in the legal and fundraising profession.

If Interested in This Role, Please Contact:

Iris Drayton-Spann

Managing Director

Stanton Chase DC

(O): 202-248-5088 



Courtney Stith

Talent Acquisition Specialist

Stanton Chase DC

(O): 202-248-5088


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